Sunday, September 11, 2011

Naturalist One, Out.

So, this has not been my week for wildlife.

For the past several nights, I’ve been hearing the coyotes yipping and singing west of my barn. Anyone who’s ever heard a pack of coyotes singing knows that it’s a sound that gives a normal person the chills. The first night I heard them, they were off in the distance. The second night, they sounded like they were in my back yard, so to speak. The singing woke me up at 3 in the morning, and then I had to go check on the horses. They were sleeping contentedly in their pen in the front yard. Evidently they were not as creeped out by the coyote choir as I was.
The next night – Thursday- The coyotes were at it again. I heard them singing in the distance around 11pm, but went to sleep anyway. I could hear RC chewing in the yard, so the ponies were unperturbed. I heard them again at 1 AM and they were close. The singing raised the hair on the back of my neck, but I assumed that they hadn’t bothered the horses yet, so they were probably on the other side of the creek. I lay in bed listening.

I heard yipping, singing coyotes. Close, probably not 100 yards from my bedroom window (though I am safely on the second story with poodles snuggled around me).

Then I heard the sound of horses running.

Not good. Not good at all. Flashes of the worst possibly scenario ran through my mind. Delight, cut and bleeding; RC, breaking a leg; A mangy coyote, stomped and mangled but not dead.

In the time it took to sit bolt upright in bed, dislodge the poodles and grab a sweatshirt a there was a new sound.


I made it downstairs, grabbed my shoes, and flung open the front door armed with a flashlight to find… Two horses contentedly munching their hay. I did a quick scan and saw nothing that could possibly harm one of my poor ponies and returned to bed.
Silence, except for the crunching of hay between RC’s big white molars, greeted me. The next morning when I surveyed fed hay, I checked the fence line in the back pasture: 50 feet of downed hotwire.
It took me half an hour to reassemble the fence line to make it horse safe, but no real damage had been done. And I now know what a pack of coyotes sound like when they hit a fence with a ten mile charger on it. Somehow I doubt they’ll be back.

My second run in with nature occurred on my drive home from work on a Friday afternoon. I was slowed to a stop as the car in front of me made a left hand turn. They turned, I lifted my foot off the brake, and a deer moseyed across the road. There isn’t much traffic around here, so I just sat on the road and watched the deer gracefully walk into the forest on the other side of the road. As she disappeared into the green, I lifted my foot to move from brake to gas when BAM.
Evidently Bambi had a buddy. A clumsy simple buddy. The deer bolted from the same tree line that the first doe had come from, only instead of a stately walk, this one chose the blind run method. Right into my stopped truck.

And people say that these things are difficult to hunt?

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